Q-and-A

Apparel Online - - Mind Tree -

In the cur­rent dif­fi­cult sce­nario, the en­tire sup­ply chain as­so­ci­ated with ap­parel ex­ports is un­der pres­sure. Be­ing a buyer representative or buy­ing house, what steps are you tak­ing to cope up with this sit­u­a­tion? So far, how much growth or down­fall have you wit­nessed in the cur­rent fis­cal? What are the changes in sourc­ing strat­egy that you brought in to main­tain your busi­ness?

Prem Khem­lani, Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, GM In­dus­tries Ltd., Hong Kong

We are ex­plor­ing new sourc­ing as well as sell­ing des­ti­na­tions. Cur­rently, we are sourc­ing from China and our main prod­ucts are jeans, tees and blouses. Our main mar­kets are Mid­dle East and South Amer­ica (im­porters). Till now we were not sourc­ing from In­dia, but from last one month, I am in Ban­ga­lore and vis­ited Bel­lary (Kar­nataka) and Tirupur. We are get­ting sup­port from China-based small-scale fac­to­ries that even do 400 pieces per style in 4 colours while ear­lier their MOQs were 1,000 pieces. Even in smaller or­ders, their prices are very com­pet­i­tive.

This is one of the rea­sons that we are sus­tain­ing but de­spite that to do some­thing new, to add value I came to In­dia and am ex­plor­ing op­tions. If we can source more and dif­fer­ent prod­ucts, we can sell more. Sim­i­larly, new cus­tomer base (clients) are also in process as in next few months I will be vis­it­ing the US.

Sarab­jit Singh, Man­ager, Siba In­ter­na­tional, Den­mark

One should have a long-term think­ing, as ups and downs are a reg­u­lar part of busi­ness. Along with that, new ideas, new de­vel­op­ments are the fo­cus to over­come cur­rent chal­lenges. Our de­sign­ers are now more ag­gres­sively work­ing on prod­ucts, adding value to the ex­ist­ing prod­ucts. They are more in­no­va­tive now. Be­sides, the price is­sue will al­ways re­main any­where and ev­ery­where, be it in In­dia or China. I have no­ticed that in some prod­uct cat­e­gories, In­dian prices are not high when com­pared to China… We are try­ing to find more such prod­ucts to im­prove over­all sourc­ing.

Jag Mo­han Sharma, Sourc­ing Man­ager, Buf­falo David Bit­ton, Canada

We are al­ready sourc­ing from well es­tab­lished com­pa­nies of China, Bangladesh and In­dia that are fol­low­ing com­pli­ance com­pletely and work­ing with proper sys­tems, so we have less is­sues on sourc­ing side.

And to re­main com­pet­i­tive, we con­stantly work on sourc­ing front, de­vel­op­ing ven­dors, ex­plor­ing new fac­to­ries that are having any kind of spe­cial or dif­fer­ent prod­uct. We travel a lot for this.

Mean­while, in our core mar­kets – the Canada and the US – the econ­omy is good. In fact Canada is pos­i­tive and grow­ing, es­pe­cially com­pared to last year. The Cana­dian Govern­ment is also in­creas­ing its rate of in­ter­est as they don’t want that the things should go very fast, but rather re­main in con­trol. On the other hand, in US, things are a lit­tle bit shaky after the cur­rent de­vel­op­ments in North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA) and other such in­ci­dents. But over­all growth is go­ing on.

SS Bhat­na­gar, Chair­man, Sak­shay In­ter­na­tional, Delhi

We are now very much care­ful about all th­ese things that make up sourc­ing, as we are con­nected with good over­seas com­pa­nies and they are our old clients. They of­ten say that cost­ing is more, and so we do a lot of ex­er­cise with lo­cal sup­pli­ers to bring down the cost, but all with buy­ers’ per­mis­sion. When­ever some­one is try­ing to bring down the cost, there are enough chances to have its ‘un­de­sir­able’ im­pact, be it qual­ity of the prod­ucts or al­lied as­pects, like fab­ric’s weight, GSM, count etc. We make sure to main­tain prod­uct qual­ity, with­out im­pact­ing the look or feel of the prod­uct as di­rected by the buy­ers, be­sides re­duc­ing its cost. It is de­vel­oped as a mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and proper sup­port to each other. Se­condly, our whole team is now in­volved and is fo­cus­ing more on such prod­ucts that are in demand from var­i­ous coun­tries and which till now were not be­ing supplied by us. Be­fore the buyer asks us for any prod­uct, we should be able to send him sam­ples of the same.

Ra­jesh Singh Negi, Sourc­ing So­lu­tions In­dia, New Delhi

I think busi­ness is al­ways there for those who wish to work. We are mainly into hard goods, but now ap­parel is a grow­ing seg­ment for us and we are adding ven­dors for the same. It is just due to our sin­cere ef­forts and hard work. To be­come com­pet­i­tive, we ex­plore sev­eral ven­dors and work a lot on pric­ing. Yes, there are some pol­icy glitches; like de­spite be­ing world’s largest yarn pro­ducer, we are ex­pen­sive on the gar­ment side. But rather than crit­i­cis­ing on the same, we have to find so­lu­tions at our own level. It’s all about how you make room for your­self.

San­jeev Jain, Pres­i­dent & CEO, TQM Global Buy­ing, Noida

Not only to­day, the mar­ket has al­ways been tight and has never been easy for any­one. Our busi­ness is mainly with South Africa apart from few other coun­tries. In South Africa, since we are sup­ply­ing mainly to the ‘dis­count stores’, we have to main­tain tight prices. Busi­ness is not a prob­lem even to­day, but one has to be com­pet­i­tive enough. For­tu­nately, we have been able to find such fac­to­ries which fit into our price slot. As I have enough ex­pe­ri­ence

at all the lev­els, we guide our ven­dors on how to bring their cost down and to im­prove.

Just two years back, our 80 per cent sourc­ing (or US $ 4 mil­lion) was from small play­ers of Bangladesh, but slowly we shifted our sourc­ing base to In­dia. Ear­lier we never used to get price in In­dia, but now we are get­ting such prices, as we trained our In­dian sup­pli­ers. Th­ese ven­dors are still in profit de­spite having less cost­ing. They have reduced their wastages, over­heads, and com­mis­sions, and in­creased the use of tech­nol­ogy.

Vishal Singh, CEO, Ishu Im­pex, Mumbai

Be­ing a buy­ing house, we have in­creased our over­all move­ment – be it having more meet­ings with the buy­ers, or at­tend­ing more and more sourc­ing fairs, or ex­plor­ing some such plat­forms. Ear­lier we were hardly go­ing to any event but now we are at­tend­ing such fairs in In­dia as well as in over­seas. But th­ese ef­forts are not enough and I don’t see that things will im­prove, at least in the next one or two years as things across In­dia and the globe are con­tin­u­ously be­com­ing more and more chal­leng­ing. To get more busi­ness, we are now meet­ing new buy­ers, which again is chal­leng­ing.

Deepak Agar­wal, Founder, Na­man Mer­chan­dis­ing Ser­vices, Chennai

Mar­ket is not very con­ducive and not at all easy to man­age. In­dia has all the potential and re­sources in hand but is not able to man­age due to global chal­lenges. I feel that pol­icy mat­ter is more im­por­tant here than any other thing. Apart from that, the only way for­ward is to find out new mar­kets to sell which are to­day frag­mented and are at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions. We need to evolve our­selves in dif­fer­ent ways, be it in the form of be­ing tech­nol­ogy-cen­tric or having sus­tain­able model of work­ing. All in all, we need to de­velop an eco-sys­tem where all stake­hold­ers should be in­volved. Knowl­edge shar­ing needs to be pro­moted.

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